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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Electric Rav4 to be built in California, not Ontario

By  Greg Keenan, Globe and Mail, November 18, 2010
Mr. McGuinty has announced incentives of up to $10,000 (Canadian) for buyers of electric vehicles and cited that as something that should boost the market and encourage electric vehicle assembly in the province.

But California requires that a certain percentage of each auto makers’ fleet consist of zero-emission vehicles – such as battery- or fuel-cell-powered cars and trucks – by 2018.
Bob Carter, vice-president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, told Reuters on Monday that the electric RAV4 will go on sale first in California and other states that require auto makers to offer zero-emission vehicles.
When we read the difference in approach between the Ontario and California governments as noted by Mr. Keenan, we see that purchase incentives are not nearly as compelling to the auto industry as emission requirements.
Ontario already produces the Rav4 in their Woodstock plant; however, they will now ship the unfinished bodies to a plant near San Francisco that was recently closed with General Motors withdrew from a contract with Toyota when it filed for "chapter 11" bankruptcy. The "electric" components will be added in California.
The McGuinty government appears, from the comparison with California, and other competitions with Michigan, to be running behind in its chase to secure contracts to build "green" vehicles.
Is this  primarily a question of a less aggressive culture?
Is the Ontario government unwilling to roll up its sleeves and take the metaphoric gloves off and create the kind of conditions the manufacturers want, need and even demand, in order to secure these new contracts?
Is the need for new "eco-friendly cars and jobs" seen to be more important in the U.S. than in Canada?
Are Canadians, not for the first or last time, being outhit and outpitched by the American competitive spirit and agenda?
Let's continue to watch as these contracts become public with the various auto makers, and observe what is happening and then "has happened" to the Canadian car manufacturing industry in the new political, economic and environmental "climate".
By Sunny Freeman, The Canadian Press, Globe and Mail, Septemmber 17, 2010
A paltry one or two per cent of drivers will make the switch to electric vehicles by the end of the next decade, while a vast majority of consumers will opt for traditional gas-powered cars and trucks, says the chief executive of Ford Canada.
In 2020 traditional internal combustion engines will make up about 75 per cent of global demand and hybrids around 20 to 25 per cent, leaving electric cars only slightly less rare than they are today, said David Mondragon.
“For battery-electric vehicle customers, there has to be a behaviour change,” Mondragon told a business luncheon Thursday at a downtown Toronto hotel.

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